Yesterday a man approached me and pointed to my side, “You missed a loop in threading your belt.” His tone was courteous and nonchalant. Merely stating something of which I was unconscious. A good deed to another person.
Hurriedly I clutched the back of my blazer, feeling the smooth broad belt and exclaimed, “Oh! Thank you for telling me.” I was genuinely grateful that this man who I was seeing for the first time would care about a detail that has high impact for me. I like fashion, and looking good is important. Be it a missed loop, an annoying tag at the neckline, or an orange price sticker at the bottom of my shoes, I want to know. I unbuckled and re-belted, and enjoyed the rest of my time at the writer’s conference I was attending.
On my way home shortly after passing Fort Qu’Appelle, I fell in line behind a white truck a safe distance ahead. I was cruising at the speed limit of 90 km, and it must have been doing the same. The tarp that covered the back of the vehicle was loose and flapping around, exposing the contents in tow. Then it happened. A red-orangey thing with wheels pelted out from the truck and sailed into the ditch. I slowed down. The white truck maintained its speed of 90, oblivious to the loss which I recognized as a load-moving dolly.
The truck was soon out of sight. I didn’t think I could catch up with it given the speed limit and the delay that it would entail to pick up the castaway. I thought of my winter tires, heavier than the average because they were studded. I had an appointment to change them on Monday, and perhaps the dolly would make lifting them easier. Not really though. I could roll tires deftly, and besides, my husband had said he would put them in the trunk of the car. That’s it, I thought quickly. Or more correctly, that’s whom I could give the dolly to if I rescued it. My husband. He would find any number of uses for it, including a suggestion that we advertise for its true owner.
I stopped the car and carefully reversed on the shoulder one kilometre west to where the metallic treasure lay. I hoped no one would see me fetching it. In brand new heels of faux animal print patent leather, and flaming orange trench with matching scarf, my appearance was a dead giveaway that I was ditch-lifting. I opened the trunk of my silver CRV then stepped gingerly into the steep ditch. Every sense in my body was heightened. My heart was pounding under my blazer as I grabbed the dolly with both hands, trying to hold it at arms’ length so it would not touch my coat. It was heavier than I expected, and the top part separated from the wheels making my progress slower and more awkward.
I was afraid to look around with my two pieces of ditch treasure. The road, however, remained miraculously clear. Plonk, plink. Metal bounced each other as I placed the cart in the trunk, and in record time I was in my seat. My heart was singing as I thought how proud my husband would be of my first-time adventure in ditch-lifting. My sacrificial doing for him. For greater love has no woman than this – that she picks up another man’s dolly for her husband.
I set my speed on cruise and started off again. My daughter would forgive supper being late when I showed her what was in the trunk. I could anticipate her questions. But even as I carried on the imaginary conversation, I had to figure out what was going on with yet another vehicle. This one was parked way ahead on the right shoulder of the highway. It was black and looked more like a small semi. Adrenalin flared as my heart absorbed something my eyes could not yet verify. Was someone trying to fix something to a truck? A recalcitrant tarp maybe? The black tarp that covered the entire behind of the vehicle made it look larger than it really was.
I slowed down as I passed, my heart racing for the second time. And my eyes caught up with my heart as I read the letters on the side of a white truck. Moss Something it said. I braked in front of the parked truck. I hopped out. I waved to the man, opened my car trunk, and pointed inside. He walked towards me, and we met between the two vehicles, me tottering slightly on high heels with a huge armful of red-orangey metal that matched my coat. He in black T-shirt and jeans, matching the wheels of his dolly.
“I saw this fall from your truck and I picked it up.” I shouted the words above the sound of passing cars.
“I didn’t know anything had fallen out.” He smiled his pleasure and surprise as he accepted the metal truant I offered. “It’s so nice of you to do this for me. Thank you. Thank you so very much. I can’t say thanks enough.” Over and over he repeated the words, his gratitude an almost tangible element in the balmy afternoon air.
A random act of kindness. Merely returning something of which he was unconscious of losing. A good deed to another person.